MSUB renames softball stadium, announces donation and construction

2014-04-11T14:30:00Z 2014-04-11T20:39:18Z MSUB renames softball stadium, announces donation and constructionBy ZACH BENOIT zbenoit@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Thanks to a donation from the Avitus Group, the softball stadium at Montana State University Billings got a new name Friday and will have a new press box by midsummer.

As the Yellowjackets softball team warmed up for a home doubleheader against Northwest Nazarene, MSUB and Avitus officials announced the stadium's new name, Avitus Group Stadium.

Avitus pledged $50,000 over a five-year period, which will fund construction of the new press box and scoreboard improvement.

"We believe this project will not only enhance the experience for our student-athletes, but it will also increase the visibility of our softball program and enhance recruiting efforts," said Krista Montague, MSUB athletic director.

Dianne Parker, Avitus' public relations manager, said the group places a priority on giving back to the community and that with the hard work, dedication and ability to juggle academic and athletic duties shown by MSUB student-athletes, it was an easy decision to donate.

"The student-athletes truly are the future," she said.

The new press box will sit at the stadium's southwest corner, on the east side of North 27th Street, behind home plate, with A&E Architects as designers and Langlas & Associates as the builder.

Ed George, with Langlas, said that it will be an 8-foot-tall steel structure built with modern techniques used on larger buildings.

"Even though it's small, it's going to be here 100 years down the road," he said.

The donation will also fund improvements and upgrades to the scoreboard, including new paint, new signs, new numbers and lettering and lighted Avitus Group signage.

In addition, MSUB will raise the height of the bleachers behind third base and create an MSUB softball collage on the extra space.

After Friday's ceremony, Ken Balster, president of Avitus Group Business Services Inc., threw out the first pitch before the softball game.

Avitus has the option to renew its donation when the five year period is up.

Construction is scheduled to begin on May 1 and finish by July 15.

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